BY BILL STEWART

Staff Writer

Bethanie Brown finally committed to running full time this year.

The move paid off in a big way for the Waterville junior.

“It paid off a lot of dividends for her,” Waterville track and field coach Ian Wilson said. “A huge part of her improvement is because she made that commitment of being a year-round runner. It showed. She had a special year.”

Special, indeed.

Brown won state and New England championships in long distance events, breaking decades-old records in the process.

For her accomplishments this spring, Brown is the Morning Sentinel Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

“I felt really good about the season,” she said. “I’ve had a year where I broke a lot of records. It’s cool because my goals were looking at records and seeing what I had a chance in.”

Brown ran the fastest 1,600-meters in Maine girls track history when she won the New England title with a time of 4 minutes, 50.39 seconds. She also won the 3,200 in 10:31.19.

“I really wanted to do well at New Englands,” Brown said. “I didn’t know what I’d have left in the (3,200). I wanted to go out very hard in the (1,600) and fight against whatever competition I had. Whatever I had left for the (3,200), I didn’t know.”

Turns out, it was plenty. Brown won that race by about 13 seconds.

About a week later, she finished seventh in the 5-kilometer race at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals with a time of 17:11.14. That time also established a new Maine girls track and field record.

“I was excited to run the 5K,” she said. “I decided to have fun with that. It was a pretty good race, but that last mile was hard.”

Added Wilson: “She doesn’t like to run slowly. When she runs the miles, she wants to hammer them. She has the all-time fastest miler in Maine history for girls track. Of all the thousands and thousands of girls who have laced up spikes and trained their butts off, Bethanie is the fastest.

“I’ve stopped thinking this kid has any ceiling or a limit.”

Brown dominated in-state competition this season.

She easily won Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Class B state titles in the 1,600 and 3,200. She set the Class B state record in the 1,600 with a time of 4:55.23. She also set the Class B record in the 3,200 — 10:34.79.

But it was in the New England meet and Outdoor Nationals where Brown made her mark.

“She’s looking around at the rest of New England and nation at what those kids are doing,” Wilson said. “She has no desire to be a big fish in a small pond. She wants to challenge herself at the highest level. She’s the whole package. Sometimes you get kids who are mentally tough or physically gifted. It’s rare you have the kid who is the whole package.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]


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